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National Gazetteer (1868) - Elsdon

"ELSDON, a parish in the S. division of Coquetdale ward, county Northumberland, 9 miles S.W. of Rothbury, and 20 N.W. of Morpeth. Newcastle is its post town. It is situated near the river Reed, on the high road between Jedburgh and Morpeth, and contains the townships and wards of Elsdon, Byrness, Monkridge, Otterburn, Rochester, Troughend, Woodside, Ramshope, and several hamlets Coal, iron, and limestone are abundant, and afford employment to the inhabitants. This is a polling-place for the northern division of the county. The surface chiefly consists of dreary moors; the eastern part resting upon beds of limestone, and the western upon porphyry and basalt, with some mountain limestone. In the reign of Elizabeth the men of Redesdale lived a nomadic life, pasturing their cattle on the moorlands, and plundering or levying blackmail upon their neighbours on both sides of the border, which occasioned frequent dissensions between the English and Scotch authorities. Oats and barley ripen well in some seasons, but wheat seldom comes to perfection. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Durham, value £803. The parish church is a stone structure, dedicated to St. Cuthbert. There is also a district church, the living of which is a perpetual curacy Byrness, Otterburn, and Horsley are chapels-of-ease. The charities produce about £2 per annum. There are five schools. In the neighbourhood some Roman relics have been found, also a quantity of human remains. The ancient castle, erected by Sir Robert Taylboys in the 14th century stands near the church, and has the arms of the Umfraville family in the S. porch. The lower story is spanned by a single arch. The Duke of Northumberland is lord of the manor."

"ELISHAW, a hamlet in the parish of Elsdon, S. division of Coquetdale ward, county Northumberland, 9 miles N.E. of Bellingham. Here are ruins of a hospital."

"ELSDON WARD, a township in the parish of Elsdon, S. division of Coquetdale ward, county Northumberland."

"MONKRIDGE-WARD, a township in the parish of Elsdon, S. division of Coquetdale ward, county Northumberland, 8 miles N.E. of Bellingham."

"MOTE, a hill in the parish of Elsdon, county Northumberland, 9 miles S.W. of Rothbury. It is situated on the line of the ancient Watling Street, and has two circular camps on it, where Roman inscriptions have been found."

"OTTERBURN-WARD, a township and chapelry in the parish of Elsdon, S. division of Coquetdale ward, county Northumberland, 3½ miles W. of Elsdon, and 9 N.E. of Bellingham. Newcastle is its post town. The village, which is of small extent, is situated on the river Reed, and on the turnpike road from Newcastle to Jedburgh. Otterburn is celebrated in Border story as the scene of the well contested battle described in the popular ballad of Chevy Chase. This battle was fought on the 15th August, 1388, between the English and Scots, the former being defeated, and Harry Percy, surnamed Hotspur, and his brother Ralph, made prisoners, while the Scottish commander, Earl Douglas, -was left dead on the field. On the spot where the battle was fought are several tumuli, also remains of intrenchments, and a cross which marks the spot where Douglas fell. There is a woollen manufactory, and some of the inhabitants are engaged in carding, dyeing, and fulling. There is also a colliery. The soil is of a loamy nature, with lime. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Durham, value £200. The church, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, is a stone structure erected in 1858, at the expense of the Misses Davidson and Mrs. Askew, at a cost of £3,000. It contains a stone screen richly carved. At the same period a school-house was erected by the former ladies, and the old school-house added to the master's residence. A church for the United Presbyterians was built in 1834. Otterburn Tower, the principal residence, was erected on the site of the old castle, which sustained frequent attacks of the Scottish Borderers. Thomas James, Esq., is lord of the manor."

"REDESDALE, a lordship in the parish of Elsdon, in Tynedale ward, county Northumberland, 6 miles N.E. of Bellingham. It is situated in a wild district on the river Reed, and includes the parishes of Corsenside and Elsdon, with the hamlets of Linhead and East and West Woodburn. In former times it was held by the Umfranvilles by the service of keeping it clear of wolves and robbers, and now gives title of baron to the Mitford family, of whom were the lord chancellor and the Grecian historian. At Reed Swyse, in the upper part of the valley of the Reed; was fought the last border skirmish, in 1575, between Sir J. Foster and Sir J. Carmichael."

"ROCHESTER-WARD, a township in the parish of Elsdon, S. division of Coquetdale ward, county Northumberland, 11 miles N. of Bellingham, and 8 N.W. of Elsdon. The village, called High Rochester, is situated near the river Reed, and on the line of the Roman way Watling Street. It occupies the brow of a rugged eminence, once the site of the Roman Bremenium, a stipendiary city, and one of the strongest of the Roman stations in the N. The ruins of a wall 7 feet in thickness, chequered with ashlar-work, are still remaining on the W. and S.W. sides, and were defended by triple ramparts of earth. In excavating the ruins a hypocaust, altars, urns, and numerous Roman antiquities have been found. Horsley chapel-of-ease, built in 1844, is in this township It is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. There is a National school, endowed with a small annuity by Lord Redesdale, and under the inspection of government."

"TROUGHEND WARD, a township in the parish of Elsdon, S. division of Coquetdale ward, county Northumberland, 7 miles N.E. of Bellingham."

"WOODSIDE WARD, a township in the parish of Elsdon, county Northumberland, 1½ mile N. of Elsdon, and 10 miles N.E. of Bellingham."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]